As you may have gathered from my review, I really enjoyed Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. I thought the gameplay was fun, albeit a bit buggy, and being able to revisit a high-definition version of Raccoon City is something I’ve dreamt about since the last time I did so in Umbrella Chronicles. Additionally, the reappearance of a certain Umbrella security operative by the name of Hunk made me recall the insane amount of time I spent earning the privilege to survive the horrors of the G-Virus in his shoes.
The Beginning of the End of an Era
Resident Evil 2 is still one of the few games I have ever beaten more than once. I don’t exactly recall whether this obsession was a fascination with the story or the fact I didn’t have enough money to buy more games, but I think equal parts of both made up 2/3 of the ingredient list. The last component was a carry over from the original Resident Evil, something I now refer to as “the perfectionist’s incentive.” See, back in the day, there weren’t things like achievement scores or DLC, rather mastery of a particular game opened up secrets or added features to the core experience. While it was great blowing zombies to pieces in RE1 with a rocket launcher containing unlimited ammo, RE2 took the this concept and expanded on it.
There were quite a few unlockables in the game, everything from an unlimited machine gun and the aforementioned rocket launcher to an appearance by the undead version of everyone’s least favorite helicopter pilot, Brad Vickers. The subtle changes to Claire and Leon’s A/B scenarios were themselves reason enough to play through at least 4 times, but it was the quest for one of two unlockable characters that would keep me glued to my PS1. While Tofu was an interesting concept, I wasn’t all too excited about trying to make my way through the hordes of mutants with only a knife. Besides, I hate the consistency of tofu and have rarely incorporated it into my meals no matter how exotic I am feeling.
I did get A’s, just not in school
To get Hunk, I believe you had to earn an A ranking in both Leon and Claire’s scenarios, not an easy task considering this meant not saving, not using first aid sprays and beating the game in under 3 hours. The Resident Evil series is not exactly known for padding your course in any kind of way, so accomplishing this meant I actually had to memorize the layout of the levels as well as the locations of certain monsters and items. In hindsight, I can’t believe I was able to stay focused that long without any sort of medication.
I think it took me about 8 or 9 sessions to finally get an A ranking in both scenarios, one run-through missing the mark by a mere 3 minutes. Fortunately for me, the motivation to do this started up during either Christmas or Spring Break, meaning I could actually take the time to play over and over, as stopping would have ruined my rhythm. I don’t recall whether or not my parents were concerned about me during this period of time as I don’t remember eating all that much or hydrating properly. I always assumed they were eager to see me unlock Hunk so that they could play as him without all the work. This was a pleasant thought, but probably not true considering neither of my parents played games.
The funny thing is, after spending all that time getting access to Hunk and his short but challenging mini-quest, it finally occurred to me that I’d spent way too much time on the game. It didn’t help that I began dreaming of William Birkin crashing through my window and slicing my face off while I attempted to earn access to Tofu, the second unlockable character (I actually never pursued that based entirely on the dream, as I was convinced that I had psychic nightmares when I was younger). While it was the beginning of my fandom of the USS and its oddly named agent, it marked the end of my desire to ever beat a game as handily as that one. A play through of Final Fantasy Tactics would see this completionist desire creep back up, but the sudden appearance of puberty and a more refined taste in boobs would see me ease off the gaming that defined my childhood.
I don’t know whether my quest to earn Hunk ruined gaming for me during my teenage and early college years, but I do think it left a seed of resentment towards present day achievement whoring. That being said, it was nice to see that lovable asshole again, especially since I didn’t have to dedicate as much time to interacting with him this time around.
Just 5 More Minutes – Anecdotes and memories of when we didn’t want to put a specific game down.
Giant Bomb (Images)